Kingsmen Swept By Goldpanners, Drop Both in Father’s Day Double Header

June 19, 2023

On Father’s Day, the Kingsmen and Goldpanners wrapped up their four-game series with a double header after rain postponed Saturday night’s matchup. At the time of game one’s first pitch, the June Alaskan air was a cool 65 degrees. The Kingsmen offense, though, started off hot.

Following two quick outs, right fielder Cam Troyer walked and stole second base before advancing to third on a throwing error by the Goldpanners’ catcher. Third baseman Bryce Frederick then singled home Troyer to give the Kingsmen a quick 1-0 advantage in the first. The Goldpanners, however, would add two of their own off starting pitcher Michael Gracer in the bottom of the first. The inning ended with the Goldpanners holding a 2-1 lead. 

The Goldpanners would add another run on an RBI double in the bottom of the second to make it a 3-1 ballgame. Kingsmen leadoff man and center fielder, Darrien Whitaker, erased that lead in the next half inning, launching a two-run blast to right for the Kingsmen’s first home run of the year.

The tie score did not last for long, though. After Gracer hit the first batter in the bottom of the third and walked the second, the Kingsmen defense fell apart. The Goldpanners scored four runs in the inning on four Kingsmen errors––three of which came on the same play––to retake the lead, 7-3. 

The Kingsmen would add a run in the fifth on a Cam Troyer RBI sac fly, but would give it back in the bottom half of the inning following an RBI single off of reliever Ryan Fluharty.

In the top of the seventh, the Kingsmen showed life with a pair of clutch two-out RBI singles from Troyer and pinch hitter Jack Killelea. However, the four run deficit proved to be insurmountable as the Kingsmen dropped the first of two seven inning games, 8-6.

In game two, the Kingsmen played the crisp brand of baseball we’re accustomed to. 

Ball State’s Blake Bevis got the start and threw well in his three-plus innings of work. The righty allowed just two hits while striking out two before handing the ball to Justin Stewart with two outs in the third. Stewart took over with a 1-0 lead after a Mikah Conner RBI groundout in the inning prior.

In his third year with the team, the Kingsmen vet was excellent during his first two innings, but ran into bad luck in the bottom of the sixth. Errors from first baseman Colin Patterson and Stewart allowed a Goldpanner to reach second base with nobody out. The righty was then able to navigate through the next two hitters, but a dribbler hit into no-man’s land allowed the runner to score when the ball got away from Stewart attempting to cover first. Heading into the final inning, the score was tied 1-1.

A quiet seventh inning for both teams led to free baseball with a ghost runner starting at second in each half inning. In the top of the eighth, the Kingsmen were able to push a run across after multiple wild pitches passed through the Goldpanners’ backstop. Kingsmen catcher Jack Austin followed the run by reaching first base as a result of an error by the third baseman. Though Austin was able to steal second, the Kingsmen failed to drive him in.

With a 2-1 lead, the Kingsmen sent Stewart back to the mound looking to salvage the series finale. However, the righty was ambushed by the first batter of the inning who singled home the ghost runner on second to tie the game. Following an intentional walk, fly out, and fielder’s choice, Logan Wimberly of the Goldpanners launched a three-run walk off home run to end the game in dramatic fashion. With the 5-2 victory, the Goldpanners completed the double header and series sweep of the Kingsmen.

Though it was a disappointing end and a tough loss to swallow, the Kingsmen enjoyed their Alaskan tour and are grateful for the hospitality shown by the opposition. The team is looking forward to traveling home to South Carolina and continuing their summer season. Stay tuned for more Kingsmen Baseball news and updates.

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